Morning routines for kids can transform the path of your child’s day. My children are slugs on the weekday mornings; they get up on the weekends before the sun rises.
It’s like…they know that routine makes such a difference to maintain stress-free weekdays in the morning!
I’ve been doing routines with my kids since they were newborns (yes, even babies are on the routine!). I wrote about kindergarten schedules, children’s daily schedules, kindergarten routines, summer schedules, school age and much more.
You might even say that I’m a routine junkie, which according to science is actually a really good thing.
I can say with all my heart that morning routines are the greatest gift to a mother’s health—in addition to being enormously beneficial to the children.
For the morning routines for kids, both my son can…
- Wake themselves with an alarm clock
- Get out of bed and dress themselves
- Brush their teeth and hair
- Get their own breakfast going most days
- And they can do all this on their own...without me nagging, threatening or going like Hulk Mom.
With the right tools and encouragement (more on that in a minute), children will surprise and impress you with their independence, responsibility and time management skills.
This is not fluff. I am completely serious.
So if every day you find yourself exhausted from having to manage your child’s routine, let me give you some relief.
1. Get your children an alarm clock that matches their time-telling ability.
My personal favorite is a stoplight alarm clock until the kids have a very good time around the age of 7 or 8. This clock uses the visual of a stoplight to know when it’s time to wake up.
Red – stay in bed.
Green – wake and be seen.
You can use those rhymes to help your kids remember the rules.
As your child gets older, move to a more traditional alarm clock that makes noise for the kid to wake.
2. Have your kid pick out their clothes for the whole week on Sunday.
Put these in a small file folder like this one, and put the weekday labels on it. Using a tool like this helps the child to be completely independent when he or she is dressed in the morning and prevents time delay in deciding what to wear.
3. Best Basic examples of morning routines with kids.
I find that most kids are doing well with a 45 minute window of time to get through the morning routine.
Does it need to take that long? Of course not, but I find children appreciate moving at a slower pace (to look at the random bug on the carpet) and despise rushing.
Give children some extra padding and they’ll easily get through their routine by the deadline (boundary).
- 6:30 am alarm clock goes off
- 6:40 am child actually gets out of bed, starts following routine cards.
- 6:45 am child is distracted by toy or book.
- 6:50 am child gets dressed, brushes teeth and hair
- 7:00 am child is downstairs to grab hard boiled egg and whole-wheat bread with peanut butter for breakfast.
- 7:15 am child is ready to start the day or leave the house
This is a very approximate estimate of the child’s time. And as a child practices routine, these time-to-touch points fall into place without a reminder. The child naturally flows on time through the routine.
4. Try Avoid technology at all costs in the am.
Screen-time degrades the ability of the child to focus. This is especially true as children re-enact what they see on the screen in real life.
Those are called schemas – and it’s how children make sense of what they see in the virtual world. They will act it out in real life to try and understand it.
Avoiding technology in the am sets children up for success. Save for the afternoon when work and school work is complete.
5. Consider some form of vestibular or proprioceptive input before asking a child to sit still or focus.
In order for children to learn how to listen, focus and follow directions as they grow, they need to develop proprioception and vestibular sense by experiencing many physical activities during childhood.
Without it, kids can’t pay attention to school because they’re too distracted by their own bodies. Putting clothes on, trying new food, and finishing homework, become insurmountable tasks when kids don’t have a strong vestibular sense or a well-developed proprioception.